Laning mistakes of low MMR players

Anti-Mage artwork courtesy of  MugenMcFugen
 
After covering basic overall mistakes low MMR players commonly make, it is time to move on to the part two of our series. This time around, we will focus on laning mistakes that can be observed in lower brackets. 
 

Before we begin…

 
As usual, the mistakes in lower MMR brackets start to show before the game even starts. A crucial part of laning success is to put heroes in roles that actually suit their strengths and weaknesses. While low MMR players often have an at least decent understanding of which heroes can be played mid, they completely lack a feel for the concept of the off lane. In lower tier games, the off lane is more often than not treated like a secondary safe lane. If you add the appeal of jungling to that mix, it is very likely that a hero who is as ill-equipped as they come for the task of being a solo laner ends up alone. 
 
There are two reasons why this keeps happening in low tier games. First of all, players lack the in-depth understanding of mechanics that is needed to understand a hero and laning concepts. Second of all, most of the time it goes unpunished. Even if the average off lane Spectre Spectre dies five times in lane, chances are the opposing team does not have the ability to capitalize on it in time. With teams being incapable of ending games in early timing windows, the result often comes down to who has more late game potential. 
 
However, that is only the case if both teams follow the same ineffective scheme. If you want to raise your MMR, the off lane is a great place to start. If you begin to understand the role and which heroes fit it well, you can exploit weak safe lanes and give your team an advantage to start snowballing off. After all, pub players tend to give up if they are facing too much of a threatdeficit, not only in low MMR regions.
 
Image courtesy of jaidalockai.deviantart.com
 

Murphy’s Dota Law

 
Since the off lane in low tier games isn’t much of an off lane in the first place, this guide will now turn to common mistakes in the mid and safe lane. Both of these lanes are the most sought after in pub Dota, yet both are mistake-ridden. Before we get into detail, it is important to remember that low level Dota is a very special environment. In many ways, it is comparable to road traffic. While it seems reasonable to assume that everyone knows the rules and won’t run into you, you should be prepared for every possible mishap and react accordingly. 
 
When playing mid for example, even most of low MMR players know that it is beneficial for your mid to have some shared  Tangos, a  ward and most importantly a  courier. Yet, there is a very good chance the mid laner will end up with no Tangos, no ward and no courier. If you are that mid laner, there are two options: either you take the accident head-on and make sure everyone knows that your support is to blame for this miserable situation, or you prevent the accident from happening by taking action yourself. 
 
Instead of stubbornly trying to show your teammates what disaster they just caused, you should prove that you know better and get the most important tools yourself. You probably don’t need a minute 0 ward, since it will take a bit of time for supports to rotate to the mid lane, if they even do so at all. That leaves you with the manageable task of getting Tangos and a courier. Especially the courier is absolutely essential, since it is the only supply line you have in the mid lane. Not having a courier means you will not receive the items you farm up, which will inevitably lead to you losing your lane. Therefore, even selling one of your starting items like  Healing Salve in order to have a courier ready will eventually pay off. 
 

Controlling the mid lane

 
Once you reach the lane, controlling the creep equilibrium is the most important part of winning your mid matchup. If you are the one determining the location of the creep waves, you can make sure you are in a safe position while forcing your opponent to take risks in order to secure last hits. 
 
It all starts with the creep block. Ideally, you want to block the first wave of creeps as much as possible after securing the minute 0 bounty rune. Additionally, you should try to have the range creep up in front. Range creeps in general are the key to lane control. Not only do they give the highest amount of experience (double the value of a melee creep) and gold, but they also do the most damage while being the most fragile. Making sure the range creep is the first one to die will pull the wave back towards your tower, securing a safe high ground position. 
 
Image courtesy of Stephen Stark
 
Once the lane settles, always keep an eye on the number of creeps on both sides, which gives you a very good idea if the lane is pushing in a certain direction. The goal is to keep the lane equilibrium at the edge of your high ground. 
 
This is where most low MMR players do it wrong. Either they push the wave out too much by landing unnecessary auto attacks, or they let the opposing creeps run into the tower, which makes them lose the high ground advantage once the next wave arrives. Instead, if the enemy creeps are about to run into tower range, pull them to the side until your own creep wave arrives. This way, you will keep the equilibrium in place. 
 
Now why is this so important? Players in lower brackets do not realize how detrimental it is to step down into the river. Once you move down from your high ground, you face several problems. Not only do you run into the problem of potential uphill misses, but you also become very vulnerable. If you step down the mid stairs, you lose high ground vision, which makes for a much larger fog of war - therefore, spotting enemy rotations becomes much harder. And even if you do manage to spot the incoming ganks in time, your escape routes are very limited. Once the path back uphill is cut off, your only option is to move along the river, which drives you into the waiting arms of rotations from the side lanes. 
 
In order to prevent this, abuse the creep aggro mechanics. If you a-click on the opposing mid hero, the creeps will automatically charge towards you. You do not need to complete your attack for this to work, which is why you can cancel it instantly if you are not in a position to actually hit your opponent. This way, you can pull the opposing melee creeps towards your range creep, which will kill it off and therefore de-push the lane. Keep in mind that creep aggro has a short cooldown of 2.5 seconds. If the creeps have just aggroed a new target, you need to wait a moment until you can pull them back.
 
Take note, though, that certain auto-cast abilities, if cast manually, will not draw the creep aggro - Glaives of Wisdom Glaives of Wisdom, Frost Arrows Frost Arrows and Searing Arrows Searing Arrows being a few examples. If you cast those manually onto the enemy, creeps will ignore that; however, if you put them on auto-cast, creeps will aggro towards you.
 
Picture courtesy of nino4art.deviantart.com
 

Not such a safe lane after all?

 
The mistakes made by safe lane carries are fairly similar to the ones made by mid laners. Just like in the mid lane, a carry needs to be able to control and manipulate the creep equilibrium as explained previously. Yet, there is another mistake that is inherently present in low level Dota.
 
One of the most popular Twitch chat lines is probably “CS LUL”, referring to even high level players missing out on seemingly easy last hits. In lower brackets, this is much more of a problem. Letting lane farm go to waste by missing last hits severely harms your efficiency and therefore will put you at a disadvantage. In order to prevent that, there is only one solution: practice. Repeatedly doing the last hit tutorial in game until you can hit a perfect score without a laning opponent should put you in the position to be able to farm decently.
 
But last hits in lane don’t only go to waste due to missed timings. A lot of low level carries also randomly wander off into the jungle to farm the easy camp. Especially in the early phases of the game, it is much more effective to farm the lane rather than farming jungle camps, especially smaller ones. You should only farm the jungle during the laning stage if you can do so as an addition, meaning that no farm in lane is lost during the time needed to take down the camp.
 

Not just mental support

 
However, it is not just the carries that have bad habits in lower MMR. There is also a lot of common mistakes among supports. The typical support in low ranked games tends to sit in lane the entire laning stage. This means that they are constantly taking away experience from their carry without contributing to the lane success. There are two basic tasks for lane support: pulling/stacking and harassing the off laner. One of these tasks should be performed at all times. If you find yourself doing none of the two, you are probably just leaching experience.
 
Image courtesy of kunkka.deviantart.com
 
In terms of stacking, make sure to get the first stack at minute 1 off. If you fail to do so, you will have a hard time pulling until minute 3, due to the changed respawn timers of jungle creeps. This means that the off laner is likely to gain experience from six waves, which will become a problem. Furthermore, the changes to jungle timer have led to the hard camp being the more popular pull camp instead of the easy camp, which needs stacking to clear even a single wave. 
 
Once you stacked the pull camp of your choice and got the pull done, you can farm gold and experience without taking something away from your carry. However, keep an eye on the state of the lane before pulling. If the enemy wave is already pushing into your tower, pulling will force your carry to tank the wave, which diminishes his regen consumables.
 
While low MMR players very rarely utilize pulls, they usually do try to harass the off laner. However, they often do it wrong. Creep aggro plays an important role in zoning as well. Whenever you are trying to get a hit off, make sure you are not aggroing the creep wave with it, since this can mess up the equilibrium and will furthermore lead to your carry missing last hits on creeps that are running away from him.
 
In order to avoid that, do not use attack commands to run towards the enemy hero. Running a little arch around the wave can also help to avoid unwanted aggro changes. Not only does this make life easier for your carry, but it also helps you take more favorable damage trades, since you are not taking additional damage from creeps. 
 
As mentioned before, the early stages of the game tend to be very important in pub games. If you can crush your opponents early on, chances are high that you can cause friction and conflicts in the enemy team. Once your opponents are turning on each other, victory is pretty much yours. Therefore, take these tips to heart and become a better laner!
AuthorKardinalR Date28 April 2017, 15:44 Views40322 Comments8
Comments (8)
BeccaJ
Gold 0 Respect 0
#1 scotland BeccaJ 2 May 2017, 13:49
Thanks for this. As a low tier player, I can recognize a lot of what you're talking about, and some of the tips in the mid lane aggro portion are especially helpful. Also, I used to get annoyed about no one buying the courier if I was mid. Well, honestly, I still do. But I realized that if you're mid, it's better to buy the courier and be 100 gold down than to not have a courier at all.

Quick question: what do you do if your enemy laners (safe or off) are incredibly aggressive? I.e. they almost completely ignore farm / last hits in favour of attacking you and your laning partner? The creep damage they might take from the wave doesn't seem to deter them, nor does it seem to mean they need to back off very often; they still do more damage to you than damage that is incoming to them. This level of aggression can make it very difficult to get close enough to the wave to get any LHs yourself, and I'm seeing a lot of games like this at the moment.

Another question: what to do if the enemy laners contest a pull? I know it might sound unbelieveable at low MMR given all the mistakes one sees, but often people will contest a pull, which means that the support doesn't get the safe and quiet XP/gold from it that you described in the article.

Thanks for any thoughts you can give on these situations!
0
BeccaJ
Gold 0 Respect 0
#2 scotland BeccaJ 2 May 2017, 13:51
Thanks for this. As a low tier player, I can recognize a lot of what you're talking about, and some of the tips in the mid lane aggro portion are especially helpful. Also, I used to get annoyed about no one buying the courier if I was mid. Well, honestly, I still do. But I realized that if you're mid, it's better to buy the courier and be 100 gold down than to not have a courier at all.

Quick question: what do you do if your enemy laners (safe or off) are incredibly aggressive? I.e. they almost completely ignore farm / last hits in favour of attacking you and your laning partner? The creep damage they might take from the wave doesn't seem to deter them, nor does it seem to mean they need to back off very often; they still do more damage to you than damage that is incoming to them. This level of aggression can make it very difficult to get close enough to the wave to get any LHs yourself, and I'm seeing a lot of games like this at the moment.

Another question: what to do if the enemy laners contest a big camp pull? I know it might sound unbelieveable at low MMR given all the mistakes one sees, but often people will contest a pull, which means that the support doesn't get the safe and quiet XP/gold from it that you described in the article.

Thanks for any thoughts you can give on these situations!
0
KardinalR
Gold 16 Respect 2
DOTA
#3 de KardinalR 2 May 2017, 15:08
First of all, thanks for your feedback! Always glad to hear that people can take something away from our guides and continue to improve.

BeccaJ

Quick question: what do you do if your enemy laners (safe or off) are incredibly aggressive?


In both cases, you have to make sure to bring enough regen into the laning stage. If your lane opponent is really agressive, he will take a lot of damage as well. If you have less regen than your opponent, he will force you out of the lane at some point. If it is the other way round, chances are you will come out on top. Another thing when facing off laners: try to deny them early experience at (almost) all costs. Once an off lane hero has gotten a few levels, it will be very hard for you to force him out of the lane or take favorable damage trades against him. The longer you can keep the off laner at level 1, the more likely you will win the lane against him.

BeccaJ

Another question: what to do if the enemy laners contest a pull?


Getting your pull contested can indeed be very annoying. The thing is, most off laners can not do this without overextending. In order to contest your pull, the off laner has to move in a very dangerous position. Try to communicate with your carry/lane partner early, once you see him moving in for the contest. If you get your teammate to commit (which might be a tough task in lower MMR), you will very likely score a kill and therefore deter this type of aggressive play in the future.

Hope this helps, GL & HF in your next games :)
+1
jpblopez
Gold 0 Respect 0
#4 ph jpblopez 3 May 2017, 04:55
I play support all the time and all I have read are very helpful for a developing player like me. I am a big fan of Na'Vi through the thick and thin and I really appreciate the efforts the Na'Vi team has done to reach out to their supporters <3. I would like to ask some questions regarding the offlane and support role so that as a support, I can predict their actions and capitalize on the information that I get, and also recognize my own mistakes and compensate for them.

First: When do you call a support line-up greedy and what are its risks/advantages? I have been thinking that those supports who have healing abilities, would like to stay in lane and assist the carry are the non-greedy ones, while those who roam a lot and fight early on are the greedy ones but I need clarification because I'm sure that there is more to it than that. I also know that having a greedy line-up would mean a difficult laning stage for my teammates and I don't want this to happen if it doesn't help our team in the long run.

Second: As an offlaner, when should you be blocking pull camps? There are some games in which at the start of the match, the offlaner would be blocking the camps and there are also games that he wouldn't. I'm thinking that it depends on the match-ups but in what kinds of match-ups?
0
teowsengheong
Gold 0 Respect 0
#5 my teowsengheong 3 May 2017, 08:34
very excellent article and indeed this give me a lot of idea on how to play the lane well, especially offlane.. Infact i have an experience of losing 150 games due to those mistakes before (either by me or teammate )
0
KardinalR
Gold 16 Respect 2
DOTA
#6 de KardinalR 3 May 2017, 12:45
Thank you for your continuous support! We're glad to be able to give something back to our loyal fans!

jpblopez

First: When do you call a support line-up greedy and what are its risks/advantages?


Supports are considered greedy if they need levels or certain items (for example Blink Dagger) to make an impact on the game. The type of abilities they have or whether they roam around typically doesn't play into that consideration. A typical example for a non-greedy support is Dazzle. Even if he leaves the laning phase with no farm whatsoever and only a few levels, he can still greatly impact fights. An underleveled Omniknight however will have a hard time living up to his potential, which makes him a rather greedy support pick. To sum it up, chosing a greedy support lineup is a "high risk- high reward situation" that can either backfire or turn out really well. A non-greedy support choice is a safe and solid approach, which might not have the same ceiling, but can deal well with falling behind early.

jpblopez

As an offlaner, when should you be blocking pull camps?


There are two factors to be considered here. One is that most of the time, you need to commit an Observer Ward in order to block the pull camp, which means you will only have limited vision from it. If you expect the enemy supports to rotate a lot, you are probably better off using the ward for maximum vision to see those rotations coming. Furthermore, a ward that is blocking the camp is much more likely to get dewarded. Therefore you shouldn't use it to block if you can't afford to lose it at some point.

The second factor is the kill potential of your matchup. If your opponents have the potential to kill you, blocking a camp can be a good idea, because you get a bigger return from it. If they do not have the tools to kill you anyways, you do not have to block it since you can contest pulls anyways.

Hope this helps you support your way up the MMR ladder!
+1
BeccaJ
Gold 0 Respect 0
#7 scotland BeccaJ 3 May 2017, 12:54
KardinalR


In both cases, you have to make sure to bring enough regen into the laning stage. If your lane opponent is really agressive, he will take a lot of damage as well. If you have less regen than your opponent, he will force you out of the lane at some point. If it is the other way round, chances are you will come out on top. Another thing when facing off laners: try to deny them early experience at (almost) all costs. Once an off lane hero has gotten a few levels, it will be very hard for you to force him out of the lane or take favorable damage trades against him. The longer you can keep the off laner at level 1, the more likely you will win the lane against him.


Getting your pull contested can indeed be very annoying. The thing is, most off laners can not do this without overextending. In order to contest your pull, the off laner has to move in a very dangerous position. Try to communicate with your carry/lane partner early, once you see him moving in for the contest. If you get your teammate to commit (which might be a tough task in lower MMR), you will very likely score a kill and therefore deter this type of aggressive play in the future.

Hope this helps, GL & HF in your next games :)


Thanks very much, KardinalR! All of this makes sense. I sometimes err on the side of not taking more regen to lane because I am worried about "wasting" gold on regen, when I know I need to start getting items and that timings will already be slower than they should be given the aggression of enemy laners and the fact that I could be better at last hits too! But perhaps more regen will mean I can get near the wave more often, and so get more LHs to balance out spending more gold on regen at the start. (And perhaps it will mean I can also get more denies in, hopefully reducing xp for the offlaners.)

A quick follow up question on your thoughts on pull contestation. Often in my games, the enemy offlaner will actually be a pair of enemies, not a single offlaner. So naturally it's easier for two players to contest our pull than for one player to do so (and then we're back to the "they're super aggressive" problem also makes it difficult to defend the pull from them -- maybe extra regen would help me defend the contested pull, too?). So any tips for if a pull is contested by multiple enemies?
0
jpblopez
Gold 0 Respect 0
#8 ph jpblopez 4 May 2017, 05:24
KardinalR

Thank you for your continuous support! We're glad to be able to give something back to our loyal fans!

jpblopez

First: When do you call a support line-up greedy and what are its risks/advantages?


Supports are considered greedy if they need levels or certain items (for example Blink Dagger) to make an impact on the game. The type of abilities they have or whether they roam around typically doesn't play into that consideration. A typical example for a non-greedy support is Dazzle. Even if he leaves the laning phase with no farm whatsoever and only a few levels, he can still greatly impact fights. An underleveled Omniknight however will have a hard time living up to his potential, which makes him a rather greedy support pick. To sum it up, chosing a greedy support lineup is a "high risk- high reward situation" that can either backfire or turn out really well. A non-greedy support choice is a safe and solid approach, which might not have the same ceiling, but can deal well with falling behind early.

jpblopez

As an offlaner, when should you be blocking pull camps?


There are two factors to be considered here. One is that most of the time, you need to commit an Observer Ward in order to block the pull camp, which means you will only have limited vision from it. If you expect the enemy supports to rotate a lot, you are probably better off using the ward for maximum vision to see those rotations coming. Furthermore, a ward that is blocking the camp is much more likely to get dewarded. Therefore you shouldn't use it to block if you can't afford to lose it at some point.

The second factor is the kill potential of your matchup. If your opponents have the potential to kill you, blocking a camp can be a good idea, because you get a bigger return from it. If they do not have the tools to kill you anyways, you do not have to block it since you can contest pulls anyways.

Hope this helps you support your way up the MMR ladder!


I have been enlightened <3 Thank you so much.
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